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Communication on August 19, 2005

2009.08.27 10:27

Views:7107

* South and North Korean Catholics Pledge Collaboration for National Unification during Joint Liberation Day Festivities

On the occasion of joint Liberation Day festivities which were held in Seoul from August 14 until 17, 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of national liberation from Japanese colonial rule, South and North Korean Catholics met and made a resolution to work together for reconciliation and unity of Korean people.

Meetings of each religious delegation were arranged on the third day of the festivities, where S. Korean Catholics could talk with the N. Korean Catholic delegation which included Mr. Paul Kang Ji-young, Vice Chairperson of the Association of North Korean Catholics, and Ms. Catherine Ri San-ok, President of the Catholic Women's Association in North Korea.

Mr. Kang said in his address, "I am so pleased because things we could not even imagine before are now taking shape. Although the faith knows no boundary or nationality, I feel the burden of cross as a believer to do our responsibilities and mission toward the nation."

During the talk, the S. Korean delegation expressed regret that there is still no permanent priest in North Korea. To this, Mr. Kang did not give an immediate answer but suggested that South and North Korean Catholics offer Mass together at Geumgang Mountain.

The Rev. Paul Han Jeong-gwan, Secretary of the CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People, emphasized that both South and North Korean Catholics should make more efforts to deepen the mutual understanding. He added, "We hope that programs and plans can be made to activate dialogue and to advance the residence of a priest in North Korea."

In the meantime, the four-day festivities were featured with various events, such as South-North football games, N. Korean delegation's visits to historic sites and a meeting for the compilation of unabridged Korean dictionary. In particular, the N. Korean delegation made unprecedented visits to the National Assembly and to the state cemetery, which was evaluated as a milestone in improving the South-North Korean relationship.

* A Catholic Hospital Opened in North Korea with Assistance of the Catholic Church in Korea

On August 5, 2005, the Rason International Catholic Hospital was opened in Rason, Hamgyeongbuk-do, North Korea. The hospital was built with the assistance of the International Cooperation of Catholic Medical Service in which the Congregation of St. Ottilien of the Benedictine Order (President: Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, O.S.B.) and the Catholic Church in Korea cooperate.

Built as a three-story building in an area of 25,000 sq. meters and a total floor space of 8,000 sq. meters, this general hospital is equipped with medical facilities for diagnosis and treatment and has 100 beds and 80 doctors, nurses and medical staff.

Abbot Primate Notker Wolf said, "Catholic hospitals give hope for peace and cooperation. I hope that this hospital also can pave a way for further cooperation."

The Most Rev. Paul Ri Moun-hi, Archbishop of Daegu, who laid the foundation for this Catholic hospital told the Catholic Times, "It is a happy occasion that a hospital can open in North Korea with the concern and assistance of the Church. The effort of the Catholic Church for the reconciliation and unity of the two Koreas is a very important mission not only for the Korean people but also for the peace of all humanity."


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